Ex-Liverpool manager concerned over £70k-p/w Reds player who ‘found life very difficult’ v Spurs

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Graeme Souness was critical of Ibrahima Konate’s performance during Liverpool’s 4-3 win over Tottenham on Sunday.

The former Reds manager was speaking on Sky Sports’ coverage of the match, with fellow pundit Gary Neville also giving a less than favourable assessment of the 23-year-old afterwards.

The 1984 European Cup-winning captain voiced his concerns that the Frenchman still ‘looks raw’ and struggled to cope defensively as nominal right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold tucked inside in a more advanced role.

Souness said on Sky in relation to Konate (via Metro): “He still looks like he is learning the game, he looks very raw. I get why they want to push Trent there because he is their best kicker of the ball. But I think Konate found life very difficult today.

“Going forward for Liverpool next year they must be thinking, [Joel] Matip can’t keep himself fit, is he the answer? He’s a young man learning the game, maybe he will be, maybe he won’t.”

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Souness isn’t the first pundit to question the 23-year-old’s ability to cover on the right-hand side of defence with Trent pushing further up the pitch, while the French centre-back was caught out with his positioning for Heung-min Son’s goal yesterday.

However, Konate still made some very important contributions for Liverpool, winning more duels (11) and tackles (four) than any of his teammates, as per Sofascore. He was also generally composed in possession, succeeding with 59 of his 68 passes (87%) and recording one successful long ball.

He’s still only 23 and is getting used to his requirement to cover more ground following the Englishman’s repositioning in a more advanced role, so the £70,000-per-week colossus (FBref) could yet adapt successfully to his part in Jurgen Klopp’s recently revised tactical setup.

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